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Dalgish wants Liverpool to step up gear for looming friendlies

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish expects their play to step up a gear this week after defeat to Hull City.

Next up for Liverpool is a return to Istanbul to face Galatasaray on Thursday night before Monday's trip to Norway to take on Valerenga.

And Dalglish admits he intends to use those two fixtures as an opportunity to intensify the Reds' preparations for 2011-12.

"The lads are at various degrees of fitness for the matches," he told LFC TV. "Someone like Jordan (Henderson) has only trained for a week, so it's a bit too much to ask him to start the game.

"But we've got a couple of matches in the space of a few days at the end of next week and we'll make sure as many people as we can get more minutes than they did today.

"If they're going to stake a claim for a first-team place, they've got to earn it. We've given them every opportunity to get themselves fit and try and earn that right to play in the first team, but they'll need to do better than that if they want it."

He added: "On Wednesday we go to Galatasaray, so we'll see what we've got, see if we picked up any injuries or not and take it from there. As I said, we are planning to extend the number of minutes they're playing."

 It's kicking off again! Click here for your No1 source for Liverpool transfer market news and gossip.

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